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‘Big Shot’: ABC Sports Series Finds Second Life at Disney+

Creator David E. Kelley sold the show to ABC, who didn't move forward on it but instead passed the series to Disney+.

John Stamos

“Big Shot”

Disney+

If you’re looking for something outside of the world of Marvel, Disney+ is going to have you covered this April with “Big Shot.”

As revealed by the streamer Wednesday at the Television Critics Association Winter 2021 Press Tour, the series synopsis is as follows: “After getting ousted from the NCAA, a hothead men’s basketball coach must take a job at an all-girls high school. He soon learns that teenage girls are more than just X’s and O’s; they require empathy and vulnerability — foreign concepts for the stoic Coach Korn (John Stamos). By learning how to connect with his players, Marvyn starts to grow into the person he’s always hoped to be. The girls learn to take themselves more seriously, finding their footing both on and off the court.”

“Big Shot” stars Stamos alongside Jessalyn Gilsig, Richard Robichaux, Sophia Mitri Schloss, Nell Verlaque, Tiana Le, Monique Green, Tisha Eve Custodio, Cricket Wampler and Yvette Nicole Brown. David E. Kelley, showrunner of “Big Little Lies,” acts as creator and executive producer.

“This is a show that David E. Kelly and I wrote, together, probably about six years ago,” said showrunner and executive producer Dean Lorey. They sold it to ABC, who didn’t move forward on it, but eventually the series passed to corporate sibling Disney+, who gave it a straight to series order. According to Lorey, the studio went through the backlog of ABC scripts and “Big Shot” was one of 10 they picked from that pile; Stamos himself was offered the role by Kelley himself.

“I’ve never been much of a sports guy,” Stamos said. (He thought the Los Angeles Clippers were a college team.) Stamos says he wasn’t particularly athletic, and worried about the amount of activity the role would require. In addition, it was the first role Stamos was offered where he wasn’t meant to charm. “I dug into that because I felt I could go a little further than other actors,” he said. “I was looking for this show. I was looking for a way to play an adult character [who] had layers, that wasn’t light and fluffy.”

This is a series focused on second chances and, more importantly, turning Stamos’ Marvyn Korn into a man who focused on the personal lives of his players. “It’s kind of a fish out of water story,” Lorey said. They knew it would be about a disgraced coach, but felt that for Korn the private, tony, girls school atmosphere would be the perfect environment for him.

“My experience with basketball can be reduced to one word: baseball. I only knew baseball,” said director and executive producer Bill D’Elia. He had to immerse himself into basketball games in order to best capture the style of direction.

And though the show is about basketball, they wanted to make “Big Shot” character-driven. “We never wanted to show a basketball game that wasn’t advancing a character plot,” Lorey said. “We tried to find a nice balance between drama and comedy, as well.”

Gilsig, who has a teenage daughter, found the series to be inspiring as it doesn’t strictly present teenage girls in the same light; the emphasis is on their personal ambition. “It’s a new voice they have to learn to navigate,” she said.

“Big Shot” will stream on Disney+ starting April 16.

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